Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Here we go again with another set of divorced parents dead set to battle in court over the custody of a child. One parent, as usual, is more pushy and prone to brainwash the child into believing the worst of the other parent. The other parent tries to cope and interact positively with the child but finds it hard to stay cool, empathetic and focused on the child's feelings and needs when she projects rebellion and hostility in that family setting. The poor child believes that she has to protect and reinforce the brainwashing parent but really approves of the other parent's efforts and just can't break character enough to stand up for what she believes is right. She's so confused.
Except in cases of abuse, children need both parents. Ideally, they stay in the same school district. Most don't which makes it complicated to time share the child equally. There's no easy answer. It's always a matter of compromise. The biggest obstacle is the hostility between the parents, their inability and refusal to see life from each others' perspective, and the modeling of rejection for the child. No matter what the custody schedule, there will be lifelong scars. Some adults know better, but those aren't the ones who end up in court.